Vancouver – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is commenting on the controversy over the traffic problem caused in Stanley Park by horse-drawn carriages. The society says the carriages not only create a risk to public safety but also compromise the horses’ welfare.
This week, the operator of the carriage horse rides was quoted in media stating that conducting rides under a new traffic configuration in the park was an “accident waiting to happen.”
But VHS points out that a near-disastrous incident involving a runaway carriage took place in 2016, when spooked horses left the roadway and came close to falling off the seawall.
“The horse carriages have always been an accident waiting to happen, whatever the traffic arrangement in the park,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker. “Now is the opportunity for the City to listen to local residents and prioritize safety, ensuring the increase in cycle traffic is adequately accommodated.”
Fricker said the current temporary arrangement, which provides one lane for motorists and another for cyclists might be a reasonable compromise but putting horse carriages in the mix appears unworkable. “If the new traffic pattern gives much-needed access to the park to both motorists and cyclists, it would be a shame to scrap it because of one business putting public and animal safety at risk unnecessarily.”
VHS opposes carriage horse rides in the city because of the dangers of the horses’ close proximity to traffic, the exposure to noise and pollution and long hours standing in all weather conditions.